ALLENTOWN – The Syracuse Sky Chiefs belted two homers to support a solid outing by starter Jeff Mandel to down Lehigh Valley 4-2 in the first game of a two game series.
The starting International League All-Star second baseman Chase Lambin hit his 10th home run in the first inning off IronPig starter Alex Concepcion to give the Sky Chiefs a 2-0 lead.
The Lehigh Valley reliever got the spot start due to the gap created by the promotion of Nelson Figueroa. By the time Manager Dave Huppert turned to his bullpen, the IronPigs were down 3-0.
Former starter turned long reliever Joe Savery came in and pitched seven innings, striking out seven and giving up just a home run in the fifth inning to Jason Botts to make the score 4-0.
"It's the best he's thrown this year," Huppert said. "He kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win."
The IronPigs did manage 10 hits, but the only extra base hit was notched by Savery.
"They threw the ball well against us tonight," said Huppert. "We got ten hits off their starter but we just couldn't mount them together and get a big hit to break the thing open."
Philly phenom Domonic Brown singled in the second for his only hit but was caught stealing by Mandel. His move, appearing to be a balk, caught Brown too far off the base causing a run down. Brown was tagged out at second.
The play was pivotal as a Neil Sellers drive to center could have been a sacrifice fly if not for the out.
"It was big because of the possible sacrifice fly," Huppert said. "I didn't think he stepped towards third. I thought he went straight up and straight down. You can't pivot that quick to first base if you step towards third like you were supposed to."
The IronPigs got on the board with four singles in the fifth inning. All-Star Cody Ransom led off the inning with single and then scored on Chris Duffy's infield single that injured Syracuse third baseman Leonard Davis.
Not only was this Savery's best outing of the season, he was 2-for-3 from the plate helping the IronPigs score. In the seventh, the pitcher doubled and scored on Duffy's second single and RBI of the night.
"He's got a lot of at-bats in college," Huppert said of Savery, a Rice University product from Houston, Texas. "He was a first baseman more than he was a pitcher."
That would end the IronPigs scoring as Victor Garate shut down Lehigh Valley (32-49) over the final two innings for the save.
Brian Mazone (5-7, 3.68) goes against the Sky Chiefs' Jason Jones (0-2, 6.75) in the second game of the two game series. The IronPigs will travel to Pawtucket on Saturday for one game and then return to Lehigh Valley to face the same Paw Sox to celebrate Independence Day.